Is Breastfeeding the New Vacuum Cleaner?


the case against breastfeeding, breastfeeding not healthy

Is breastfeeding our generation's
vacuum cleaner?

"In certain overachieving circles, breastfeeding is no longer a choice—it's a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breastfeeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breastfeeding right for every family? Or is it this generation's vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?"

This is from "The Case Against Breastfeeding," an article by Hanna Rosin in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. Hanna is certainly not against breastfeeding—she has three children, all of whom she has breastfed.But she does have a few choice words for La Leche League.

The article is well researched and well thought out. I don't agree with it all, but I highly recommend you read it and would love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Here's a bit I found interesting:

"The debate about breast-feeding takes place without any reference to its actual context in women’s lives. Breastfeeding exclusively is not like taking a prenatal vitamin. It is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let’s say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That’s nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breast-feeding is 'free,' I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing."

What do you think? Does breastfeeding keep women down?



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heath... heatherama

This blog is worth reading. It goes into detail about the study Rosin mentions in her article and both of the researches have commented on it.


mom2b... mom2babygavin

A baby still has to be fed.  Time will still be spent feeding no matter what form BF or Formula.  BFing I think is faster and easy! No damn bottles and no standing waiting for the milk to heat.  Breastmilk is ready at anytime.

mama0... mama02040608

Not work in any meaningful way?  I work full time, and have breastfed 4 children (still going with #4). It's this kind of uninformed, unintelligent rhetoric that leads women to not even try to breastfeed. 

maggi... maggiemom2000

It is this kind of attitude that makes me want to yell "It's not just about the milk!"  Even if formula is improved to the point where all studies show no different risks or benefits, I would still breastfeed.


Nursing is the biological norm for mothers and babies. It is a relationship that links the baby's immune system to the mother's, provides the baby with stimulation and connection while providing the mother with stress reducing hormones. It even feeds the baby.

madam... madamekatekate

When I was breastfeeding my daughter, I'd have to sit with her for 3 hours. I wish that 3 hours had been filled with those stress reducing hormones.



Doula... DoulamomPA

Wow,  If women think breastfeeding is keeping them down wait until they have a 3 year old throwing a fit in a store and they are forced to cut there day short so the child can have a nap.  Or all the time they will spend on sports fields or in dance or gymnastics studios watching there children and driving them from activity to activity.  Or how about not buying that designer dress because your child needs new clothes for school and the budget will not allow both???? If a woman thinks breastfeeding is time consuming do not become a mom.  Seriously infants sleep and eat and require little more.  As for health benefits being comparable to formula...Was this written by similac or enfamil??? OK I'm done thanks for letting me rant. 

coolm... coolmommyof3

If you think breastfeeding is tying you down, what about formula feeding????  I mean, the prep time to prepare it, put it in the bottle, feed baby, clean bottle, put it away, only to have to do it again 2-3 hours later?  sooooo not worth my time!   With breastfeeding, I just whip out a boob, and the meal is warm, and no clean up afterward! 

I think breastfeeding has it's own rewards.  You ask is it free, but what about formula?  Is that free?  NOOOOOOO!  You have to mix it with water (unless it's bought prepared) and you have to buy soap to wash the bottles, and clean the bottles, and use water to do that, and all the while your baby is screaming for food.  Now, if you breastfeed, you'd already be done feeding baby by the time the bottle is prepared!

As for benefits.....breastfeeding carries not only every nutrient baby needs to survive, but also has immunities that the mom carries.  Does formula have that???? NO.  You can't buy that for your baby.

I think this article is uninformed, uneducated, and prob from a person who either doesn't have kids, or just doesn't find the time for them!  My kids are worth my time.  Whether they pay for it or not!


Momma... MommaAprilP

I loved a comment I found on the related article. 

"Finally, the real clincher that everyone forgets about is that we had a healthier alternative in the past. Wet nursing was acceptable and available. Your sister could feed your infant to give you a break and no one would bat an eyelash at the practice. Now, in our super sterile environment where we confuse an infant's normal food with yucky body fluids --- such an idea is usually met with shock and horror."

I have wet nursed a friends baby.  It was no big deal.  She was running to the store and I kept all of our kids when her baby chose an inconvient time to get hungry.  After a quick cell phone call I fed a hungry baby, and that was that.  Many people are probaby shocked at the thought of sharing breatmilk like that, but if it wasn't so socially frowned on I'm sure I would do it more often.  The fact that Breastfeeding is considered "gross" by so many means we as a society just don't consider that option; and I think that is a real shame.

eema.... eema.gray

I actually thought the article was extremely POORLY researched - she used very outdated sources and information to back up her point of view. She may "say" she is pro breastfeeding but the article implies otherwise.

Lelan... LelandsMommy

I breastfed my youngest for about 6 months. He nursed 10 times a day in the beginning, and about 6 times a day toward the end... each time was about 2 hours long!!!!!! That's a lot of time! I hate when people try to say that formula feeding takes just as long. I can mix a bottle (and now a sippy cup) in less than a min. and I wash bottles in the dish washer with all the other dishes I have to wash anyway. I don't boil water (there is no need unless you have dirty water), and I don't warm bottles. both of my kids were able to hold  bottle by 4 months, so no need so me to sit there, and even before they could hold a bottle they could drink it in about 10-15 min (if that!).... Plus I always had the option of letting someone else feed them a bottle. So the amount of time I spend on bottle feeding AT THE MOST was 16 min!!!!! HUGE difference compared to 2 HOURS!

I think it is extremely unfair the way SOME BFing moms treat FFing moms! Not all BFing moms bash, but some (like the ones this article is talking about) take things too far. They criticize and degrade those who choose FFing, and they even make some BFing moms feel bad if they don't do it all just "perfectly". It's sad, and it casts a bad light on an otherwise beautiful thing.

I say bravo Hanna for pointing out that there is no need for all this debate over breastfeeding! For some women breast is best, but for others formula works better... and in the end there both can have happy healthy kids.

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